OCEANSIDE — Sixteen-year-old Oceanside High School junior Kevin Williams rang in the New Year with his first solo flight in a Cessna 152 at the Oceanside Municipal Airport.
Williams was this year’s recipient of the Jack Cassan Memorial Flight scholarship, a fund administered by the Oceanside Airport Association with the goal of teaching Oceanside teenagers how to fly. The unaccompanied flight was observed from the ground by instructor John Dowding of Orion Aviation, Williams’ parents and a small group of well-wishers.
After making three flawless flights, Williams was honored during a ceremonial “Tail Cutting,” a rite of passage for new pilots.
“This is a great moment for Oceanside youth and a milestone for our airport,” said Ben Meyers, president of the Oceanside Airport Association. Meyers was on hand along with Councilman Jerry Kern to observe Williams’ first solo flight.
Williams, one of this year’s recipients of the Girard Award for Academic Excellence, is a member of the Oceanside High School USMC Junior ROTC program, and is president of the campus Aviation Club. Living directly under the airport’s flight pattern and seeing aircraft pass overhead has inspired Williams to become a U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot. “For me, the (Oceanside) airport and the Cassan scholarship are wonderful gifts that have brought my goals into reach. More kids should to come to our airport and do what I’m doing.”
The Jack Cassan Memorial Flight Scholarship is available to selected sophomores and juniors attending Oceanside high schools. Selection focuses on grades, community involvement and a demonstrated passion for aviation. Interested teens can receive more information about this scholarship through their school’s counseling offices or by writing to: The Cassan Scholarship Committee, Oceanside Airport Assn., P.O. Box 172, Oceanside, CA 92049.